A HEALTH supplements company has been prosecuted after a Rugby pensioner parted with nearly £10,000.
Sanda Wellbeing Ltd, a UK-based company specialising in telesales of high-value health supplements, has been convicted of four offences relating to supplements sold to the unnamed 89 year old man over an eighteen-month period.
Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards began its investigation into the workings of the company after discovering the victim had spent £9,900 on a wide range of products claiming to improve health.
Leamington Spa Magistrates Court heard Sanda Wellbeing used an Indian call centre run by a closely connected Indian registered company, Sanda Wellbeing PVT Ltd, to generate sales.
It targeted affluent home owners with a credit or debit card, aged over 50, who had either reported suffering from mobility issues or who may be interested in buying health supplements.
The prosecution heard telesales staff followed scripts to potential customers that contained a number of nutritional claims and benefits of the products on offer, including the level of nutrients they contained.
The investigation has since revealed after thorough dietary analysis, not only did some supplements not contain the promised levels of nutrients, they were also being sold in hugely elevated quantities. In some cases the products would have exceeded their “best before” date long before they could all have been taken.
The court heard the company had no procedures in place to prevent inappropriate quantities or combinations of products being sold to customers, nor were upper limits applied to ensure products did not contain excessive levels of nutrients, such as vitamin A which is found to be detrimental to health with excess intake, as compared with the content stated on the label.
The company was found guilty of three offences arising from the sale of its products to the Rugby victim, and a further offence relating to a misleading claim about the levels of nutrients present in the product ‘Pomy’.
Sentencing, District Judge Robertson said the court regarded the offences as serious and significant breaches of consumer protection legislation.
He added Sanda Wellbeing took advantage of an elderly man’s vulnerability and had shown a reckless disregard for the requirements of professional diligence.
Official records showed the company had traded at a loss, had no assets and was now in liquidation, which was taken into account and for these reasons a three-year conditional discharge was imposed on each charge.
Director of Sanda Wellbeing at the time of the offences, Ajit Ramanlal Patel, paid prosecution costs and compensation to the customer together totalling £41,500.
He gave undertakings to Warwickshire Trading Standards he would not, in future business dealings, engage in the type of activity which Sanda Wellbeing had been convicted of.